Chapter 2: Why Scripture Must be Inerrant





Despite the importance of Scriptural inerrancy, there are a host of skeptics who, while they may call themselves Christians, have managed to ignore this quality of Scripture. By attributing the source of Scripture not to God but to man, they have granted themselves the freedom to ignore those parts of Scripture that do not appeal to them. In giving man alone the credit for our Judeo-Christian Scripture, they have released themselves from bondage to it. Unfortunately, they have made God to be quite small in the process, as small as themselves, remote and alien. Some of these scoffers of Scripture are self-proclaimed Scriptural authorities. Their god is not worthy of our love, because he is reducible to mere man.


Given the amount of information contained in Scripture and its profound depth, the reader of it inevitably will come across passages that apparently contradict others that he has already read. The believer will struggle with it, refusing to permit the contradiction to stand. In this endeavor he will be assisted greatly by the indwelling Holy Spirit until he achieves a resolution. But the resolution to the conflict will, of itself, furnish a large amount of information that, unless the believer had struggled to obtain it, would have remained entirely unknown. With a deeper, greatly enhanced picture of God resulting from his acquisition of this information, the believer has advanced toward becoming a committed believer. He has also acquired an appreciation for the truth of Scripture, which increases his faith that much more. Now, given his success with that effort, he won’t accept the notion of a contradiction when he comes to another and more serious or more difficult potential stumblingblock in Scripture, either from his continued reading or by some doubter. Again, he is rewarded with a yet deeper understanding of God and His Scripture, and so his process of growth into a mature and committed Christian continues ever upward.


Thus armed with depth of understanding, the committed Christian is equipped to fend off the many false teachers that inevitably will show up. The light of Christ in Scripture will illuminate and expose them for the evil creatures that they are. He become a valuable presence in his church, not as an example alone, but also because he can help his brothers and sisters turn over the rocks in their congregations and rid themselves of evil influences.


In opposition to what non-Christians and even some self-proclaimed Christians say about their differences, the Old and New Testaments provide one self-consistent representation of the Word of God. As the New Testament fulfills the Old, so does the Old flesh out the New. It is absolutely necessary, to fully understand either of the testaments, to understand both and how they complement each other to form the single Word, but it also takes wisdom and effort to reach that point of Christian maturity to appreciate that harmony shared by the two Testaments. One can catch a glimpse of the truth of that pronouncement merely by noting that Jesus and Paul, among others who dealt with Scripture, that the Scripture they had at their disposal was the Old Testament. The entire Word is to be honored and treasured above all, for as a representation of Jesus it is a representation of God. And it is yet more than that: as a part of the Creative Act in which God moved upon generations of mankind in a cosmic drama to develop it, Scripture is an integral part of the Divine Word.


Jesus, in fact, thoroughly identified Himself with Scripture. In the Gospels Jesus explicitly points out this relationship, noting in many places His own fulfillment of Scriptural prophecy and of the spirit of the Word. In Matthew 5, for example, He equates His ministry with the fulfillment of Scripture:


Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am come not to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, until all be fulfilled.”


Here Jesus, the Word of God, asserts without reservation that He Who represents Creation Itself is not only bound by the Word of Scripture, but actually defined by it. Through Him, Scripture is an integral part of the Creative Word. It is alive. Like Jesus Himself, it is the image of God.


In the eighth chapter of John, Jesus links His nature as the Living Word of God directly with Scripture: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.”


Jesus is the living Word embodied in flesh. This intimacy between Word and flesh in Jesus pemits he who absorbs Scripture to partake of Jesus’ flesh. The Word, then, must of necessity represent truth, for otherwise it would be a shoddy representation of Jesus. Jesus, in describing Himself as the embodiment of truth, rejected the possibility of such a defect.


Since Scripture equates Jesus with Creation itself as well as with truth, it doesn’t make sense to think that Scripture is unable to get the facts of creation together without error. As we’ve noted, this is equivalent to calling Jesus a liar, for if Jesus cannot be both the embodiment of the Word and of truth if the Word is less than absolute. If the Word is not actually literal in a natural sense, the implied contradiction between Jesus and truth would be unresolvable, leaving us with a kind of “truth” that would be different than the creation He represents, which would make Jesus Himself different that who He claims to be. Beyond that necessity, any kind of errancy in Scripture would make the God of that scripture less than the omnipotent, ominiscient Being that He is supposed to be.


A faith of substance, one that reaches beyond the superficial, must therefore demand an insistence upon the basic inerrancy of Scripture.


[to be continued]




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